International music artist and producer, Paul Fox, has been active in the reggae music scene in the UK since the late 1980s. It is safe to say he knows a thing or two about the industry.
He began as a spectator enjoying the vibes but was so inspired by the sounds that he started making reggae music of his own. This led to years of music-making, producing, collaborating, and touring across the UK and Europe.
The way music is created and sourced for recording has changed a lot, too, and most music today can be conveniently produced on a laptop—Fox has learned to evolve along with the music industry and has done so successfully. For his most recent project, he wanted to do something different. While searching online for freelance musicians, singers, and rappers to collaborate with him on the album, Fox discovered Fiverr. Mining through gigs offered across the many categories, including Music & Audio and Digital Marketing, he found a handful of talented individuals to help him produce and promote his 2019 album, Imaginary Lines, which is available for streaming on Spotify.
Fiverr: Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do? How did you become who you are today?
My mother is Jamaican, my father is English, and I was born in London. I was a math teacher for 10 years before starting my own IT business. I am also a professional singer and producer, and I have been producing, releasing, and performing reggae music since 1992. After spending a year in Jamaica in my early twenties, I began singing and started creating my own tracks and songs. A couple of years later, I released my first record on 12″ vinyl. It was popular with the reggae sound systems in the UK at the time, and I soon met other producers and artists.
Since my first release, I have worked with many producers and artists, including Michael Rose, the grammy award-winning reggae artist and former member of the group Black Uhuru. I have also performed on sound systems in many countries around Europe and with several bands in the UK. I really enjoy the whole process of creating music, writing and recording a song, mixing music, and then releasing it on vinyl, CD and digitally.
Fiverr: What are you really passionate about in your work? Why do you do what you do? What drives you?
I am really passionate about making good music. I try to introduce flavours into the music that are interesting. Over the years, I have worked with some musicians who are not familiar with reggae. This can give the music a nice feel because they will play things that may not seem ‘reggae,’ and you end up with some interesting sounds.
The reason I do what I do is because it’s completely inside me. I find making music very energising and also therapeutic. It is almost like meditation because it becomes your absolute focus for hours, which takes you away from the rest of the world. There is also something very satisfying about thinking of an idea and seeing it materialise and even evolve into something different from the original idea. Then hearing a song played on the radio or on a sound system after working on it from scratch is really great.
Fiverr: How did you hear about Fiverr? What brought you to try out Fiverr the first time?
After a trip to the Gambia a couple of years ago, I thought it would be nice to try a reggae song that features a West African singer on the track singing in French or an African dialect. The problem was I had no idea how to find such a collaborator. But it got me thinking about doing some reggae tunes featuring things you may not usually find in a reggae song such as a rapper or a rock guitar solo. Again I had no idea where to look for such artists as most of the musicians and singers I knew were quite traditional reggae artists. I decided to try to make a new album happen with these ideas and started looking on the internet for rappers who could provide the service I wanted.
I quickly came across Fiverr and found that the website met my needs precisely. I could browse through rappers from around the world and listen to some of their work and also see what services (or ‘gigs’ in Fiverr speak) they offered. This was absolutely mind-blowing for me as it was one central place where I could communicate with these artists and choose which gigs to purchase. I found a rapper called Fee-Z, who had a style that suited the track I had been working on and was blown away by the results. He absolutely nailed the exact feel that I was looking for on the track. Even better was the fact that I could now also look for African vocals, live drums, guitars, flutes, a horn section, and so on.
Fiverr: What did you particularly like or love about using Fiverr to develop your album? What are the benefits it gives to you and your business? What kinds of services/purchases are you making on Fiverr?
In the past, working with musicians could be a fairly long process as you have to negotiate a price and arrange to get the recording done at a time that suits everybody. With Fiverr, the cost was already set, and the length of time was determined by which level of service you bought. The longest I had to wait for a gig was probably about a week, which is still quite fast.
I ended up purchasing quite a few gigs that I used on the album ‘Imaginary Lines, ‘ which was completed and released in 2019. It featured Fiverr gigs on all tracks except for one. I did the rest of the singing and instrumentation on the album, apart from my daughter, who sang on two tracks. My wife and son also did some backing vocals. The album features different style rappers, a singer/ rapper from West Africa and drummers, guitarists, and horns, all found from Fiverr gigs.
The beautiful thing about it was the fact that I had created an album with musicians and artists from the UK, USA, West Africa, Serbia, Italy, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. It feels funny and great to think that the album is made up of artists from around the world who have never met each other.
Fiverr: Tell us about any personal relationship you’ve developed with the Fiverr sellers you worked with. What did you enjoy about working with them? What did you discover?
I really enjoyed the ease of working with the Fiverr gigs. It takes a whole portion of the less pleasant aspect of working with people away. That is because the price is set, and the length of time is also set. You only have to discuss what the track required, and sometimes you would get a preview before ordering the actual gig.
There are also options with each gig about how many revisions are allowed (I never needed any). You can select whether the track is going to be used for commercial purposes, which was important to me as the music was for release on vinyl, CD, and digital platforms. It was also nice to interact with artists from different parts of the world, and sometimes we ended up having really good conversations about the music. When the album was released, it was great to hear how many of them had not appeared on vinyl or CD before and very pleasing to see how happy they were with the final mixes. I have since worked with several of them again for my next project.
Fiverr: How has music-making changed since you started making music? What one piece of advice would you give to someone trying out Fiverr, or considering Fiverr for the first time?
When I first started making music, the studios I worked in were completely analogue and were full of lots of expensive equipment built around a large mixing desk. I really wanted to have my own studio but never had the location or resources to set it up. Over the years, computers have become much more accessible, and the software allows really high-quality music to be made without the need for lots of external equipment. This has been a total game-changer when working with other people. I have recorded many songs for other producers who I have never met from around the world. Usually, they would send me a track (or vice versa if I was asking someone to record for me), and I could record my part and upload it to them where they could mix it in their studio.
When I came across Fiverr, it took this concept to the fullest level. People have been collaborating musically online for quite some time now, but Fiverr has everything that you need in one place where you can track your conversations and orders together. There are so many different gigs offering every type of instrument and singing or rapping style. After releasing the album, I also hired Fiverr gigs to create videos for some of the album tracks and do some promotion. I had an album cover designed, which I didn’t end up using, but there were gigs available for any part of the process.
If I had to advise someone who was considering using Fiverr for musical collaborations, it would be to stop considering and go for it. Each gig gives a description of what you get – number of seconds/ bars, prices, and times based on different levels of service, previews of existing work, and so on. Along with user reviews and preliminary conversations, this means that it’s actually quite hard to go wrong. I am so happy and proud of the album ‘Imaginary Lines,’ and I will definitely be using Fiverr for my future projects.